because gluten-free food doesn't have to be rubbish

Posts Tagged ‘blueberry

Hostess with the mostest

leave a comment »

Another cake, yip, I told you there were going to be a lot coming up. This one was chosen for its freezability. We all know that cakes and biscuits freeze surprisingly well, but bar cakes like this one actually benefit from freezing, as if you cut them while still frozen you get a lovely clean slice, rather than a rather mangled slice with crumbs and popped blueberries leaking everywhere. Make in advance, store in the freezer, pull out, slice and leave to defrost while you beautify yourself/your home. Then bask in everyone’s amazement.

Lemon blueberry bars
Adapted from Dinner with Julie

I had to increase this recipe by one-quarter to fit a 9-inch square pan rather than an 8-inch pan (64 versus 81, come on people, keep up), and the result was, well, it worked, but lets just say doing maths in your head as you’re bringing a recipe together is a very bad idea. Chances of missing one ingredient or reverting back to the original recipe for just one item are very large. Do your sums beforehand, before you have a kitchen disaster. The original recipe had coconut which I thought would muddy the waters a bit much, so I layered lemon zest over the base instead, and upped the number of blueberries, so there was a nice even layer over the base. When I added the lemon topping the blueberries floated slightly and it was easy to see where the gaps were and add a few more.

75g (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) butter
40g (scant 1/4 cup) sugar
190g (1 1/4 cups) gluten-free flour blend
Pinch of salt

Zest of 1 lemon
350g (2 cups) fresh blueberries
150g (v scant 1 cup) sugar
3 tablespoons cornflour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
2 eggs
Plus 1 egg yolk
75ml fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the gluten-free flour blend and the salt and using your fingertips press the mixture into the base of a 9×9-inch silicone (or parchment-lined) baking pan. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until it smells nice and has the faintest golden tinge to it.

2. Meanwhile zest a lemon onto a plate. Wash and drain the blueberries. Then in a large bowl beat together the sugar, cornflour, baking powder, salt, eggs, egg yolk and lemon juice until smooth and homogenous.

3. Sprinkle the lemon zest onto the baked base and top with the blueberries. Spread them out so they’re in a single layer. Pour the lemony custard mix over the top and bake the whole lot in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden on top and firm to the touch. A skewer inserted in the centre might come out clean if you’re lucky, though it’s more likely to come out covered in blueberry juice. Leave to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, before moving to the freezer. Once frozen, turn out of the pan, wrap tightly in clingfilm and freeze until required.

To serve, cut into slightly smaller than 2-inch squares while still frozen, then bring up to room temperature (about an hour).


Written by guffblog

3rd August 2011 at 16:23

Posted in Cakes

Tagged with , , ,

Painter’s palate

leave a comment »

Usually when cooking you think about what flavours go together well, which contrast heavily, or which support and enhance each other. We don’t often think about what colours go together well. But given that colours of foods often give an indication of their flavour (or nutrient value) I think that building a dish based on colour is not as crazy as it sounds. With this in mind, I decided to make a crumble of contrasting colours, orange and blue. The flavours contrasted nicely; sweet berries and tangy orange, with a nice variety of nutrients; vitamin C and all your antioxidants from dark-coloured food. Yum. I mixed up the crumble with some buckwheat flour, which gave it a slightly nutty flavour. These were perfect as is, but I’m sure a splash of custard or some ice cream wouldn’t go amiss if you had it.

Orange and blueberry crumble

Next time I make this I might use an orange half that has been bobbing in some mulled wine. The boiling will bring out the orangey flavours in it, as well as adding a hint of spice and warmth from the wine.

25g butter, chopped into cubes
25g gf flour blend
25g buckwheat flour
25g white sugar
1/2 large orange, peeled and chopped
2 large handfuls of blueberries, fresh or frozen

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

2. In a large bowl rub the butter into the gf flour and buckwheat flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

3. Divide the chopped orange and blueberries between 2 ramekins. Sprinkle the crumble on top and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling up round the crumble and the crumble is just turning slightly brown at the edges.

Makes 2 ramekins.

Written by guffblog

19th December 2010 at 20:08

Posted in Desserts

Tagged with , , ,

Sticky fingers

leave a comment »

The first thing I learnt to cook and started making by myself was apple crumble. When I was about 12 or 13 my mum deemed it time to learn to make “puddings”, as they are properly called, and so, after much rereading of Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery I finally made my first apple crumble. It was nothing special to say the least but I quickly progressed onto sponges and fairy cakes and soon mother dear was proclaiming me a natural. As good gardeners have green thumbs, so she declared that I had the cook’s equivalent: sticky fingers. It’s a fitting term I think. Sticky fingers; diving into recipes which are overly ambitious and have little chance of success, just to say they have been attempted. Sticky fingers; getting flour all over the bench, and down one’s shirt as well. Sticky fingers; licking the bowl clean once everything’s in the oven. And of course, sticky fingers are genetic. Mother was convinced my sticky fingers were inherited, not so much from her as my great-grandmother, great and wise old woman that she was and a magnificent chef to boot. I kind of liked that idea at age 12, and still like it now.

Since then my crumbles have improved and indeed changed a lot. They are the simplest, and most readily adaptable of dessert I believe. But, in such humble beginnings, greatness lies. A great crumble, a great dessert, a great cook. Not to say I’m a great cook, far from it, but everyone has to start somewhere.

Peach and blueberry crumble

As a new food blogger I try to credit recipes where credit is due, yet since I learned Mrs Beeton’s ratio for crumbles (1 fat:2 flour:1 sugar) by heart, I have never used a formal recipe for crumble, instead preferring to play around with different ingredients myself. In this case since I am using peaches and blueberries instead of apples, and have changed the ratios and types of flour slightly as well, I can fairly call this “my” recipe (according to David Lebovitz’s exceedingly helpful article, if you change 3 or more ingredients you can usually safely say that a recipe is “yours”). Of course, crumbles are so ubiquitious I’d be surprised if there isn’t a recipe for peach-blueberry crumble somewhere out there on the web already, but here is my take on it. I have in fact changed the ratio of flour to fat slightly, finding gluten-free flours slightly finer than the wholewheat flour I used to work with as a teen, and so have upped the flour slightly. Also since ground almonds are fairly rich in fat, more are needed as a substitute for the flour. They can of course be switched out for flour, or indeed oats/buckwheat groats/anything else that springs to mind if you fancy. As for the fruit, the only limit is your imagination. The peach and blueberry combo did work surprisingly well though, nice and sweet, but not overly so. If the peaches are a little sour, a sprinkle of sugar may be in order.

50g butter, cut into small cubes
80g gluten-free flour blend
40g ground almonds
100g caster sugar
2 ripe peaches
200g blueberries

1. Turn on the oven to 180 C.

2. In a large mixing bowl rub the flour and almonds into the butter until you have a mixture that resembles fine breadcrumbs (definitely a situation that lends itself to sticky fingers, if ever there was one). Add the sugar and rub that in to the mixture for a minute or so until it’s well mixed. Set aside.

3. Stone your peaches and cut into thin slices (about 1/2″ in width). I left the skin on, the peaches will break down more in the oven if you peel them – entirely up to you. Put the peaches in the bottom of a small baking dish, (I chose a small oval one about 4×6″) and put the blueberries in on top.

4. Sprinkle the crumble on top of the fruit and distribute evenly with your fingers. Put the crumble in the oven and cook for 40 minutes or until starting to go very lightly brown on top. If you want it a little browner, finish off under the grill for a couple of minutes.

Serves 2 greedy people, or 3 slightly less greedy people. No idea how well it keeps as it was all wolfed down in one sitting.

Written by guffblog

18th September 2010 at 21:07

Posted in Desserts

Tagged with , , ,

To dive right in

leave a comment »

To assuage my fear and prevent my overworked brain from worrying too much about what my first words should be I’ve decided to dive right in with a recipe, and my first slightly blurry photo. Blueberry and cherry tart. It sounds gourmet even to me and I made it. Despite making this a couple of months ago it’s actually perfect for right about now, when blueberries and cherries are on special offer, 2 packs for £3 or whatnot. Though of course, you can make it at any time of the year and, I must confess, I used frozen fruit, which worked just fine. Given the abundance of slightly squishy blueberries out there at the moment though, I might just have to make this again this weekend…

Any fruit combination will work for this, though I would be wary of using strawberries as they have a very high water content and may end up making it quite soggy. The cornflour mixed in with the fruit does help a little with the juices though, and this certainly wasn’t too dribbly when I cut into it. The pastry is nice and flaky, and very rich, because of the 3 egg yolks. Some of the white can be used for glaze, the rest can be frozen – just make sure you make a note of how many whites you are freezing, it’s often hard to remember a month down the line when you come to defrosting them again and using them.

Blueberry and cherry tart
Adapted from Tartelette

The original recipe was for four to six 4-inch tartelettes. Now I like to think I’m quite good at maths, and I can calculate both the area of a circle and the volume of a, well, cake pan, but I could not figure out how a few 4-inch tarts equate to one 9-inch tart, but I used roughly the same quantities anyway and guess what? It worked fine. In the sense that I used about two-thirds of the pastry for lining the tray and the rest for decoration. Any leftover pastry can be put in the fridge or frozen and rolled out again (and again, and again, and again – gluten-free food does have its advantages).


75g butter – I always use salted because I like salt, but use unsalted if you prefer.
3 egg yolks
Pinch of salt – if you think you need it
1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour blend – whichever you prefer to use. Different flours will make a difference to the texture, but then so will loads of other things, so best to use what’s most convenient for you
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
Milk to mix, I used about 2 tablespoons

500g blueberries
500g cherries (pitted if necessary)
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons white sugar
Couple of leaves of lemon verbena, chopped

Egg white for glaze, if desired

1. Preheat your oven to 180 C.

2. Mix your fruit, sugar, cornflour and additional flavourings (I added lemon verbena as I just bought a plant and was really excited to use some of it, but the fruit tastes equally good on its own) together in a large bowl, so the cornflour lightly coats all the fruit. If you’re using frozen fruit don’t worry too much unfreezing it first. By the time you’ve made the pastry it’ll have unfrozen just enough not to interfere with the cooking of the tart, but hopefully not so much there’s juices everywhere.

3. In a separate bowl beat the butter until it’s soft and add the egg yolks. It might curdle a bit but keep beating until it’s fairly homogenous.

4. Mix the xantham gum into the flour, and then add the whole lot to the eggs and butter.  Add a pinch of salt if you’re using it, and a teaspoon of sugar if you want your pastry to be sweet, though it’s not necessary with the fruit. Mix the flour in well, then add a few drops of milk (not too much, you can always add more if necessary), and bring together into a nice ball. Flatten down into a disc, wrap well and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to make it easier to work with (unless your kitchen is really cold, in which case you can probably dive straight into the next step).

5. Lightly sprinkle your worktop with gf flour and pop the disc onto it.  Roll it out so that its just bigger than the base of the tart pan. You’ll have spare. Transfer it gently into the bottom of the pan, and then press it into the edges. Fold the top straggly bits of the pastry down so you have a nice thick top and an even edge. roll it out on a lightly floured board or in between two sheets of plastic to fit your prefered pie pan. Blind bake for 12 minutes, then take it out of the oven, remove the weights and parchment, and pop back in the oven for another 2 minutes to brown the bottom. Brown pastry is tasty pastry.

6. Throw the berries into the still-warm pastry case. Roll out the leftover pastry and cut into strips to layer over the top of the pie. Drape these on top of the fruit, and pinch them together with the edge of the baked crust to hold them in place. Glaze with some of the spare egg white for shine and put back in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the top is going nice and brown.

Delicious served warm (though be careful of berries squirting hot juices at you when you bite in) with whipped cream or creme fraiche. Leftovers are pretty good served cold as well. Mine lasted about 3 days in the fridge before it was all eaten. By the last day the pastry had gone a bit chewy, but was otherwise unharmed.

Written by guffblog

15th September 2010 at 19:42

Posted in Desserts

Tagged with , , ,